Musical AS YOU LIKE IT, RICHARD II Announced for 2020 Shakespeare In The Park Season
The Public Theater announced the line-up today for the 2020 Free Shakespeare in the Park season, continuing a 58-year tradition of free theater in Central Park.
This summer, Free Shakespeare in the Park will feature the rarely seen drama RICHARD II (May 19-June 21), directed by Saheem Ali and appearing at The Delacorte for the first time in over 30 years.
The summer season will continue with the return of the free Public Works musical adaptation of AS YOU LIKE IT in a full four-week production (July 14-August 8), adapted by Shaina Taub and Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery, with music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, original choreography by Sonya Tayeh, and directed by Laurie Woolery.
"There is no issue in the world that can't be helped by a little Shakespeare. This summer, Richard II explores the extraordinary danger and possibility of regime change and As You Like It celebrates a Forest of Arden where all refugees are welcome," said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "Laurie Woolery and Saheem Ali make their Shakespeare in the Park directing debuts and these brilliant artists will prove to us, once again, that Shakespeare is the most democratic of dramatists."
The last of the divinely anointed monarchs ascends to the throne in Shakespeare's RICHARD II. When King Richard banishes his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and deprives him of his inheritance, he unwittingly creates an enemy who will ultimately force him from the throne. One of the Bard's only dramas entirely in verse, this epic and intimate play presents the end of the Medieval Age and the rise of the house of Lancaster through a riveting tale of lost sovereignty, political intrigue, and psychological complexity. Directed by Saheem Ali, this beautiful and cutting play returns to The Delacorte for the first time in over three decades.
RICHARD II has been staged at The Delacorte only once before, in a 1987 production directed by Shakespeare in the Park founder Joseph Papp and featuring Peter MacNicol as Richard II, Marian Seldes as Duchess of Gloucester, Tony Shalhoub as Sir William Bagot, John Bedford Lloyd as Henry Bolingbroke, Tom Aldredge as John of Gaunt, and Rocky Carroll as Sir Henry Green.
This summer, Public Works' acclaimed musical production of AS YOU LIKE IT returns to The Delacorte for a full four-week production. Adapted by Shaina Taub and Director of Public Works Laurie Woolery, featuring music and lyrics by Taub, this ambitious work of participatory theater features an ensemble of both professional actors and community members from across New York, brought together through The Public Theater's groundbreaking initiative Public Works. Named on The New York Times' Best Theater of 2017, Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT is an immersive tale of faithful friends, feuding families, and lovers in disguise. Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind, and niece Celia escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place of transformation, where all are welcomed and embraced. Banished into the forest, they find community and acceptance under the stars. Laurie Woolery directs this magical adaptation of a beloved classic.
The cast of AS YOU LIKE IT will include Darius de Haas (Duke Senior), Joél Pérez (Touchstone), and Shaina Taub (Jaques), reprising their roles from the original Public Works production. They will be joined by two rotating ensembles of community members from all five boroughs to perform together on The Delacorte stage in this enchanting comedy. Complete casting will be announced at a later date.
Since 1962, over five million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals at The Delacorte Theater. Conceived by founder Joseph Papp as a way to make great theater accessible to all, The Public's Free Shakespeare in the Park continues to be the bedrock of the Company's mission to increase access and engage the community.
"We couldn't be happier to once again partner with The Public Theater on Free Shakespeare in the Park," said Chris McInerney, President and CEO of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation. "The Public brings high quality theater to city audiences for free, making it a true treasure of New York."
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